JOURNEY THROUGH LABRADOR by Bernie Howgate

( Chapter 11 )

 

 

JULY 26th

Dear Mum,

Having a marvellous time...

 

There is is one thing worse than being caught out in a storm and that is being storm bound with time on your hands and nothing to fill them with.. Now, if I was travelling with a woman there'd be no problem, but on your own it can be as boring as hell. Everything irritates you. Those loons that only last night called out in romantic tones now chattered incessantly and play on my nerves. You cannot find that lone mosquito in your tent and just when you got warm and dry, you have to go out and take a leak! It all adds up to frustration. Even your thoughts turn to all those little things that now get blown completely out of proportion.

My radio is dead and I can't find the spare batteries. That super sophisticated stove I bought in Toronto that can burn everything from white gas to rocket fuel is empty, and my tobacco, my one and only vice on this trip, is running out.

I did make a lame attempt to search for dry wood, but this was cut short when, to my horror, my tent flew. Lighting a fire is one thing, having one's tent air-lifted to Iceland like a balloon is quite another. Even the tide was laughing at me, for no sooner had I secured the tent when I noticed my kayak drifting out to sea. At times like this you want to cry. Nothing seems to go right. Sleep holds no escape, and even those chocolate biscuits I'd been saving for over a month for just such an occasion had as much snap in them as a wet sponge.

Noon brought with it a window of light and a sudden surge in temperature. The flowers bloomed, waters calmed and the air was full of sent, but to venture out meant to run the gauntlet of black flies. They got everywhere. They got in your ears, up your nose and down your throat and just to make matters worse, I'd left my tent open and when I returned, I was bushwhacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.

It is said you can hit a black fly with a baseball bat and it will come back for more, they don't so much bite as mug you. Well let me tell you something. I've travelled all over Canada. I've worked in Grande Prairie in Alberta, Whitehorse in the Yukon, Inuvik in the NWT, Flin Flon in Manitoba and Timmins in northern Ontario. I've bitten, stung, battered and bruised by every species of winged creature known to man, but nothing comes close to the Labrador mosquito when its on an eating frenzy between storms. Here they are that big they arm wrestle with you and the noise they make at night would make the chain saw massacre sound like a kiddies nursery rhyme.

That window of light proved to be the last straw, for no sooner had I taken down the tent when it when it closed again, the sky blackened, the wind blew and the rain sheeted down. Again, I had to put up the tent. When it rains, it pours. There was nothing to do, but to grin and bare it and hope that CBC out of Goose Bay, would bring me better news tomorrow.

Oh yes, did I forget to tell you, I found my spare batteries. At least now I have my music.

 


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14